Spain is one of the countries in Europe that lies on the forefront when it comes to academic failure.
Academic failure can be considered as low performance achieved by a student in relation to the expectations of their academic institution (considering his/her age and academic level). This means that students in a center are expected to meet the established curriculum, adjust to it, and benefit from the opportunities that are offered to them. Poor academic achievement, increases significantly during middle/high school years, and could lead to dropouts (rounding at about 25% in the last few years).
Anyone involved in child and adolescent education will want to consider c series of matters in order to find out if this is an issue of concern. It is normal for a student to fail a subject at some point in their academic career, but what if it occurs frequently, in a manner that may put their future at risk? What are the causes? How can we prevent them? How can we help find a solution? Where and to whom can we turn?
Academic failure is complicated to treat since there are many factors that influence our children’s academic performance. The most common factors during the elementary school years are: when intellectual capacity is significantly higher or lower than average, learning disorders, emotional disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or other causes such as bad study habits or ineffective teaching practices both at school and at home. If we add to this the influence of peer pressure or the desire to become independent during the middle/high school phase, this could lead to dropping out of school.
As previously stated, the percentage of students who experience academic difficulties during middle/high school (around 30%) is alarming. But before this occurs, we should to ask: what isn’t working? Can we avoid or prevent school failure? We can effectively develop communicative guidelines, routines, and skills that will prevent low academic performance. Having open discussions, collaborating with schools, practicing early detection for possible difficulties in the child´s personal environment (whether it is physical, related to learning, or social) and having a family context where relations are established based on trust and affection (without forgetting to establish limits and norms), would be some basic steps to lay out when it comes to helping our child reach the academic objectives established by their school.
Without a doubt, the ideal situation would be the preventative one, but academic failure seems to have become a part of the dynamic of our children’s lives. We can try to resolve this by seeing specialized professionals: starting with the school guidance counselor, who can recommend offering learning support at school, or a referral to another professional. For example: psychologists, speech therapists, support teachers, or other professionals that would know how to identify elements that are influencing performance through the use of diverse instruments (personal interview, task analysis, tests…) And once the cause(s) have been found, it would be easier to accept the problem and devise a personalized plan of action that is appropriate for the student’s specific needs. We can focus on establishing realistic goals where the child can be provided with the necessary tools to later use independently in order to reach their objectives. In this manner, it would be essential to have help that would be provided from home, receiving recommendations and working with professionals in charge of the treatment in order to make sure that the child is making progress.
When experiencing poor academic performance in school or when study efforts don’t produce expected results, a good option is to consider getting the help of a support teacher. Sinews MTI offers support teachers both at home and in the classroom. Our specialists help students overcome learning difficulties in the language that they are learning in. More information on Sinews
Carolina López Jiménez works as a learning specialist at Sinews Multilingual Therapy Institute, located at C/ Zurbano, 34, 1º Izquierda, Madrid. www.sinews.es
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